|RBH WM-24 On-wall Speakers|
|Home Theater Loudspeakers On-wall Loudspeakers|
|Written by Bryan Dailey|
|Tuesday, 01 November 2005|
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Since I am reviewed these speakers as a stereo pair, as well as part of a home theater system, I began by seeing how they fared with stereo music. Being a drummer myself, I can relate to how realistically a speaker can reproduce the sound of acoustic drums. One of the best and most raw-sounding drum recordings in recent memory is on the Rick Rubin-produced breakout album by the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Blood Sugar Sex Magic (Warner Brothers Records). On “Suck My Kiss,” the snare drum sound is recorded so well that all of the complex overtones come through loud and clear, even on a bad car stereo system. I had to learn this song as part of the set list of the AudioVideoRevolution.com company band, Ghetto Chicken. Needless to say, I have rocked this song on several speaker systems and have found that, with RBH’s on walls, once I became accustomed to the flavor change of having my first pair of on-wall speakers, the imaging and detail was better than I expected. Chad Smith’s drum set lit up my entire theater on this track and the bass drum’s high-end definition was spectacular, with the lowest of the low end being handled by the Revel and the rest of the attack of the bass drum beater hitting the drum head being reproduced by the four four-inch drivers in each speaker. The snare and high-hat patterns stayed in a steady groove with occasional syncopated accents and rely heavily on the silk dome tweeter for their definition. Never overly brittle, the WM-24 easily handed all of the percussive elements of this taxing song with a realistic tonality that is important to me as a musician.
The dance track from Seal’s DVD-Audio IV (Warner Brothers Records) titled “Get It Together” has an infectious party vibe and a mix that primarily focuses on the front left and front right channels. The WM-24s were in the spotlight here and, other than Seal’s signature raspy vocals, which stay mainly in the center channel, all ears are on the horns and strings that emanate from the front left and right. This track absolutely slams in surround on this theater and the smaller drivers in the WM-24 gave the track a fresh and more excitable sound, compared to the larger Energy C5 Connoisseur floor-standing speakers that were in my system only a few months ago. The sound was not quite as big, but the high end and midrange detail was improved and the soundstage felt bigger as the drivers were positioned about three feet further back in the room, spreading things out and giving the instruments more separation.
Pixar Studios’ classic “Toy Story” (Disney/Pixar) was just re-released on its tenth anniversary. This movie with its vibrant colors and stellar production design and sound was already an excellent demo disc. However, with even better sound and picture, it is now a must-have for showing off your home theater system. As intergalactic space hero Buzz Lightyear, voiced by comedian Tim Allen, attempts to catch a moving van that is speeding away with the rest of his friends, the surround speaker system is given a mighty workout. The firecracker attached to Lightyear’s back that serves as a makeshift rocket pack has a thunderous sound as it shoots across the screen and whizzes around the room sonically to give the effect that Lightyear is truly flying.
Not only are the voices of the star-studded cast of “Toy Story” faithfully replicated by the small but efficient and clean-sounding MC-414 from RBH, the bulk of the music, which plays a big part in keeping the story moving, sounds excellent on the WM-24s. Randy Newman’s original song “You’ve Got a Friend In Me” has set the toes of many parents tapping as they watch this film alongside their children at home. This movie is considered by many critics to be a modern-day classic and, having seen it in the theater first, then watching now in my own home theater system, I didn’t feel any loss of impact emotionally from the soundtrack when listening through this on-wall and in-wall combination RBH theater system.
Jamie Foxx blew everyone’s mind with his portrayal of Ray Charles in “Ray” (Universal). I didn’t catch it in theaters, but I knew it was going to be coming to an HD channel near me soon, so I set my high-def PVR to record it. The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack was a pure delight as the WM-24s brought me inside the gospel halls where Charles shook up the music world by combining pop/rock with religious spirituals. Driven by its infectious soundtrack, “Ray” is another modern-day classic that requires the viewer to have a stellar sound system to fully convey the emotional impact that the director and actors intended. The balance between the crowds and Foxx’s voice was well-defined. Even when clapping and hollering were mixed together, the RBH system didn’t lose focus. Occasionally, a scene where two characters had a great deal of distance between them, and the left and right WM-24s would reproduce this rather than the center channel speaker. The tonal quality of the WM-24 is slightly deeper and more resonant than the smaller MC-414C, which features similar woofers and a similar tweeter as the WM-24s.